Joseph Phelps Insignia 2005
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
The initial blend assembled in April of '06 was quite reticent. Not until early ‘07 did the wine "blossom" in barrel showing amazing depth, texture and vibrant fruit qualities. Deeply colored, concentrated and layered, with floral, anise, black cherry and graphite aromas, this wine is classically structured with excellent acidity, well-balanced tannins and a mouth-staining, persistent finish.
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Connoisseurs' Guide - "92% Cabernet Sauvignon; 7% Petit Verdot; 1% Merlot. This year's version of Insignia is a stunning wine that vies for very top honors of the vintage. Its utterly enveloping aromas of perfectly ripe currants, creamy oak and dried violets are followed up in the mouth with wonderfully extracted, carefully proportioned Cabernet flavors that go on and on. The wine is lush yet solidly structured with a fine sense of balance and tannin right where it should be, and, as good as the wine will be in its youth, it will be better yet with age."
The Wine Advocate - "Since 2004, 100% of the Bordeaux varietals used in the Insignia proprietary blend have been from estate vineyards. The beautiful, dense ruby/purple-tinged 2005 Insignia (a 12,500-case blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, and 1% Merlot) possesses sweet aromas of black cherries, cassis, chocolate, camphor, and a subtle hint of roasted herbs. Medium to full-bodied and elegant, with a European style imposed on the rich, velvety, California fruit, this cuvee will benefit from several years of bottle age, and should easily keep for three decades. "
Wine Enthusiast - "This is not a wine for tonight, or next year, or for at least the next six years. It's shut down in tannins, with an astringency that can't be overcome even with decanting, although that won't stop people from opening it before its time. Buried beneath the tannins are well-developed black currant, roasted meat and cedar flavors that define upscale Napa Cab. Really fine and distinguished, a wine to cellar and enjoy for many years."
Wine & Spirits - "This vintage of Insignia is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon (92%), blended with small amounts of Petit Verdot and Merlot, sourced from Phelps's estate vineyards in Rutherford, Stags Leap District, south Napa and St. Helena. For now, it's a sleek wine, with black currant flavors equal to a substantial presence of oak. The tannins are superripe and luxurious; they gain detail with air, becoming more mineral while allowing a fresh scent of roses to come forward. Accessible now for its richness, this will yield more complex pleasures with ten years of age."
International Wine Cellar - "92% cabernet sauvignon with 7% petit verdot and 1% merlot; bottled the month before my visit) Bright ruby-red. Highly complex nose melds currant, black licorice, lead pencil, mocha, bitter chocolate and fresh herbs. Deep and sweet in the middle, with juicy acidity giving shape to the concentrated, silky flavors of cassis and dark chocolate. This, too, is downright Bordeaux-like. Finishes with broad, lush tannins and excellent length. This has fleshed out nicely since I tasted it from barrel a year ago but should still be kept for a minimum of five or six years."
Wine Spectator - "Smooth, supple and complex, offering wonderful aromas and serving up a range of herb- and mineral-laced currant, black cherry, blackberry, sage and pebble notes. Ends with a clipped edge. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot."
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards
Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking. View all Joseph Phelps Vineyards Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review4.5 }div>4.5 out of 5 stars
- 5 Stars: 2
- 4 Stars: 0
- 3 Stars: 1
- 2 Stars: 0
- 1 Stars: 0
3 ratings, 2 with reviewsKOCO - Arlington, TX510/17/2008Even better than the 2004. Which I thought was impossible.Brigid Stanley - Oakland, CA59/10/2013
I had the opportunity of having a glass of this wine after a table I was waiting on left 1/4 of the bottle on the table "you should try some dear. on us" ...An elegant older couple ordered it, and I was astonished at the time thinking, why would they spend that much on a bottle of wine when they were sharing a New York strip steak? I had never gotten to taste it, as the place I was working back then only opened the cheaper bottles for the employee tastings. Wow. That was all I could say, or think, after trying the wine. Ok. That couple had their priorities set just right! This wine seemed so rich and delicious that I thought for the first time that there really was something to be said about an expensive bottle of wine. I started writing a wine journal after that experience! The silky, luscious mouthfeel was what I noticed most. Before that, wine was "good" or "not good" to me. I thought, cinnamon, cardamom, boysenberry, cigar smoke....This wine was like an everlasting gobstobber. But... Elegant.Randy Blanton - Kyle, TX312/10/2011
- Big & Bold
Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.
- 5 Stars: